PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAM
Each province or territory of Canada gets a yearly quota of immigrants for which they can decide what type of immigrant would suit their specific provincial/ territorial needs or goals.
Each province or territory has their own immigration categories and streams with unique requirements. If a foreign national meets the requirements of a particular province or territory's category, they may be eligible to apply for the province or territory to nominate them. When a province or territory nominate an applicant, they receive a Provincial/Territorial Nomination Certificate. If an applicant is successful in obtaining a Nomination Certificate, the Nomination Certificate may be used to apply for Permanent Residence.
The rules of the provincial and territorial governments are constantly changing, and changes can sometimes be extreme. For example during 2015 the British Columbia government and the Alberta Government both placed a pause on processing of application submitted in their respective provincial categories. The BC government replaced their scheme with a new Express Entry scheme. The Alberta government closed their scheme in August 2015 and made an announcement that it would have a new provincial immigration scheme in January 2015. Programs open and close sporadically and without warning as the provinces try to control the intake of Applications.
Importantly, only 4 provinces, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will nominate an applicant without a job offer. Of these 4 provinces, your occupation must be on an Occupation list in Saskatchewan Prince Edward Island. All other provinces and territories require applicants to have a job offer to be nominated.
Some provinces have a minimum language score and some provinces do not require a specific language proficiency test at all. The differences in requirements can be great.